January 02, 2009


Was logging off to go to bed and saw an article that got my blood all angered up.

Motorists are driving less and buying less gasoline, which means fuel taxes aren't raising enough money to keep pace with the cost of road, bridge and transit programs.

That has the federal commission that oversees financing for transportation talking about increasing the federal fuel tax.

STOP TAXING US! Don't you take enough already? For the love of all that is holy, find the money to fix roads in the huge sum of taxes you already take from us.

The National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing, a 15-member panel created by Congress, is the second group in a year to call for increasing the current 18.4 cents a gallon federal tax on gasoline and the 24.4 cents a gallon tax on diesel. State fuel taxes vary from state to state.

In a report expected in late January, members of the infrastructure financing commission say they will urge Congress to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and the diesel tax by 12 cents to 15 cents a gallon. At the same time, the commission will recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation.

So the government takes 18¢ per gallon and wants to take 28¢. From TaxFoundation.org, "Today, U.S. consumers pay an average of 45.9 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes. The federal gasoline excise tax is 18.4 cents per gallon while the average state and local tax is 27.5 cents." The oil companies only make something like 10¢ profit on each gallon. And boy, do people like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi like to go on and on about the obscene profits Big Oil makes.

The dilemma for Congress is that highway and transit programs are dependent for revenue on fuel taxes that are not sustainable. Many Americans are driving less and switching to more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and a shift to new fuels and technologies like plug-in hybrid electric cars will further erode gasoline sales.

According to a draft of the financing commission's recommendations, the nation needs to move to a new system that taxes motorists according to how much they use roads.

So we're driving less and saving Mother Earth, but now that's bad because we're not paying enough in taxes. Hey, maybe they can do this thing Neal Boortz wrote about: In 2006, Oregon was considering outfitting all cars with GPS and monitoring how many miles you drive, then taxing you per mile. Hooray for Big Brother.

Charles Whittington, chairman of the American Trucking Associations, which supports a fuel tax increase as long as the money goes to highway projects, said Congress may decide to disguise a fuel tax hike as a surcharge to combat climate change.
"Instead of calling it a gas tax, call it a carbon tax," Whittington said.

Oh no, you did not just say that out loud. You're going to use PC buzzword bullcrap to hide a new tax, making people feel good because they're paying some imaginary carbon offset nonsense.

Stop taking our freaking money!

The ridiculous part of all of this is that roads is the one thing I think government should do. Sadly, instead they've wasted all our money on bailouts and wool research and rum rebates to Puerto Rico.


Makes me want to go drink a Sam Adams and throw some tea in a harbor.

Posted by Sarah at January 2, 2009 10:09 PM | TrackBack

Gah! Everytime I see a new tax or a tax hike I just don't get it...I mean, they have more money than before (taking into consideration all the taxes they take in), but they still don't make ends meet. The problem is, that as soon as they get a larger tax intake than usual (like in California where they were flush with property tax money for the last few years) they decide they can now afford to hire some more civil servants or start some new programs, but then when the money dries up, those programs don't get automatically shut down...instead there are cries of budget deficits and wah wah wah.

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at January 3, 2009 12:50 AM


I'll grab a shot of Jack Daniel's (the distillery is just up the road from me) and meet you at the harbor in half an hour. Arrrrrrgh!

Posted by: Pamela at January 3, 2009 01:50 AM

Enjoy the Sam Adams while you can...The other dirty little secret to the whole alternative fuel thing is that more than 60% of the fields that used to produce hops are now producing wheat and corn due to the high demand both in food and bio-diesel. That has caused hops to go from $4.00 a pound just three years ago to $40.00 a pound today. This, of course, means that local micro-brews are struggling to stay afloat since they can't compete with the big boys. So now, we're looking for alternate fuels, driving less, and drinking less as the selection dwindles. That's less raised in taxes at multiple levels of government...but more importantly...My Beer is disappearing! When will the madness end?

Posted by: Matt at January 3, 2009 02:02 AM

Check out Krauthammer's suggestion for a Net-Zero gas tax. http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/949rsrgi.asp

Posted by: Eric at January 3, 2009 10:14 AM

One would think that less driving would also mean less *wear* on roads...ditto for the effect of vehicles which gain fuel efficiency by being *lighter*.

ATA better be careful about beating the "carbon" drum too loud, or people might remember than railroads are at least 3X as fuel-efficient as trucks.

Posted by: david foster at January 3, 2009 12:28 PM

Wasn't just 2006, alas. The governor of Oregon is bringing back that per-mile beauty now, or trying to.

Posted by: Anwyn at January 3, 2009 11:23 PM

Yeah - reminds me of a few years ago. After 2 or 3 mild winters in a row, the local gas companies in Illinois petitioned the regulatory commission to allow them to raise rates so that their stock holders could continue to get the same return on their investment. I guess when people use less gas to heat their homes, there is less profit to pay dividends. They actually got a rate increase on that basis - I guess we are supposed to pay the same amount of money to the gas company no matter how much or little we use!

Posted by: mwknitter at January 5, 2009 02:10 AM